Frog of the Week

Large-Webbed Bell Toad (Bombina maxima)

Large-Webbed Bell Toad
photo by Benjamin Tapley

Common Name: Large-webbed Bell Toad and Yunnan Firebelly Toad
Scientific Name: Bombina maxima
Family: Bombinatoridae – Fire bellied Toad family
Locations: China
Size: 1.7 – 2 inches (44 – 51 mm)

The Large-webbed Bell Toad lives high in the mountains near swamps, ponds, and ditches. Like other fire bellied toads, they have a bright colored belly that shows off that they are toxic. When threatened, the toad arches its back to show off their stomach to warn off the predator. Also, they can secrete a white mucus to deter the predator from eating them. The toad breeds from May to June.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list assessed the Large-webbed Bell Toad as Least Concern with Extinction. The toad has a large range and are thought to be numerous throughout it.

Frog of the Week

Pacific Horned Frog (Ceratophrys stolzmanni)

Pacific Horned Frog
photo by Santiago Ron

Common Name: Pacific Horned Frog or Stolzmann’s Horned Frog
Scientific Name: Ceratophrys stolzmanni
Family: Ceratophryidae – Horned Frog family
Locations: Ecuador and Peru
Male Size: 1.8 – 2.6 inches (48 – 68 mm)
Female Size: 2 – 3.2 inches (53 – 82 mm)

The Pacific Horned Frog lives along the Pacific coast of southern Ecuador and the very northern coast of Peru. They don’t live a long life, only about 3 years. The frog is most active during the rainy season (January – May). They spend most of their time sitting still in the leaf litter, waiting for their prey to walk by. Their prey items is anything that they can fit into their mouth. The frogs do breed in temporary pools formed by the rains during the rainy season.

During the other parts of the year, they spend their time underground in a dormant state. They form a cocoon of dead skin around their body during this time to prevent them from drying out during the hot months.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Pacific Horned Frog as Vulnerable to Extinction. A lot of the frog’s habitat has been lost to farms, urban areas, and logging.

Frog of the Week

Miniscule Frog (Mini scule)

Miniscule Frog
photo by Mark D. Scherz and Sam Hyde Roberts

Common Name: Miniscule Frog
Scientific Name: Mini scule
Family: Microhylidae – Narrow Mouthed Frog family
Locations: Madagascar
Size: 0.33 – 0.42 inches (8.4 – 10.8 mm)

The Miniscule Frog is one of the smallest frogs in the world. It lives in the deep leaf litter near permanent streams in the Saint Luce Reserve in Southeast Madagascar. Not much is known about its life history due to it being really hard to find and see.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the Miniscule Frog yet. The researchers who described the frog believe that they should be categorized as Critical Endangered. The frog’s range is estimated at only 10 square kilometers.

Frog of the Week

Hot Creek Toad (Anaxyrus monfontanus)

Hot Creek Toad
photo by William Flaxington

Common Name: Hot Creek Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus monfontanus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: United States – Nevada
Size: 2.3 inches (60 mm)

The Hot Creek Toad is a new species to science. Once considered to be a population of the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), they were elevated to full species status in 2020. Like most toads, the Hot Creek Toad is nocturnal. Not much about its life history has been confirmed but its probably similar to the Western’s Toad

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the conservation status of the Hot Creek Toad. However, the toad is thought to be rather threatened. They live in a small area in the Hot Creek Canyon area.

Frog of the Week

Castle Rock Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus petraeus)

Castle Rock Night Frog
photo by Krushnamegh Kunte

Common Name: Castle Rock Night Frog
Scientific Name: Nyctibatrachus petraeus
Family: Nyctibatrachidae – Night Frog family
Locations: India
Size: 1.25 – 1.85 inches (32 – 47 mm)

The Castle Rock Night Frog lives near the streams in the evergreen forests of Castle Rock in the western Ghats of India. Mating season coincides with the start of the southwest monsoon season in late May / early June. Males call from leaves overhanging streams. The female selects her mate but the male picks the spot to lay the eggs. The Castle Rock Night Frog do not perform amplexus (where the male grabs the female from behind) when mating. The female lays between 10 to 50 eggs and leaves. Then, the male comes over and fertilizes the eggs. Then, the male moves to a different spot on the leaf and calls for a new female. The mating season lasts until September. Once the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the stream below where they will complete their metamorphosis.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Castle Rock Night Frog as Least Concern for Extinction The frog is common in its large range. However, the forests of the western Ghats have been changed by humans. Portions of the forests has been changed to plantations for Eucalyptus, coffee, and tea and more land continues to change.

Frog of the Week

Myer’s Surinam Toad (Pipa myersi)

Myer's Surinam Toad
photo by Daniel Vásquez-Restrepo
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Myer’s Surinam Toad
Scientific Name: Pipa myersi
Family: Pipidae – Tongue-less Frog family
Locations: Panama (possibly Colombia)
Size: 1.4 – 1.6 inches (36 – 42 mm)

The aquatic Myer’s Surinam Toad lives in the drainage areas of the Rio Chucunaque. They hardly ever leave the water. Their body has adapted to life in the water. They don’t have a tongue anymore but they gained a lateral line system which is great for sensing movement in the water.

The frogs of the genus Pipa have really weird parental care. The fertilized eggs of the toad is deposited on the females back. Eventually, the eggs hatch and tadpoles come out of the toad’s skin.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Myer’s Surinam Toad as Endangered. The toads have a very small range. Also, the forests surrounding the swamp are threatened by logging and agricultural development.

Frog of the Week

Plaintive Rain Frog (Breviceps verrucosus)

Plaintive Rain Frog
photo by Martin Pickersgill

Common Name: Plaintive Rain Frog
Scientific Name: Breviceps verrucosus
Family: Brevicipitidae – Rain Frog Family
Locations: Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland
Size: 2 inches (53 mm)

The Plaintive Rain Frog lives in burrows around the southeastern coast of Africa. They live in a variety of habitats from grasslands, shrublands, and forests and from temperate to dry climates. The frogs come out from their burrows during the rainy season to breed. They breed from late August / early September to the middle of November.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Plaintive Rain Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They are common throughout their range.

Frog of the Week

Long-snouted Tree Frog (Taruga longinasus)

Long-snouted Tree Frog
photo by Milivoje Krvavac
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Long-snouted Tree Frog, Sharp-snout Saddled Tree Frog, and Southern Whipping Frog
Scientific Name: Taruga longinasus
Family: Rhacophoridae – Asian Tree Frog family
Locations: Sri Lanka
Male Size: 1.6 – 1.8 inches (41-47 mm)
Female Size: 2.2 – 2.3 inches (57-60 mm)

The Long-Snouted Tree Frog lives in the tropical mountainous forests of southwestern Sri Lanka. The frog spends most of its life high up in the trees. They come down lower in the tree during mating season. The mating season coincides with the rainy season. The frogs make a foam nest on a branch overhanging a pool of water. The nest helps keeps the eggs from drying out. Eventually, the eggs hatch and tadpoles fall out of the tree and into the water below.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Long-snouted Tree Frog as Endangered. The frogs live in a small area on the island. This area is threatened by increasing urban development, agricultural development, and harvesting wood in the area.

Frog of the Week

Melodius Coqui (Eleutherodactylus wightmanae)

Melodius Coqui
photo by Luis J. Villanueva-Rivera
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Melodius Coqui, Puerto Rican Melodius Frog, Wrinkled Coqui
Scientific Name: Eleutherodactylus wightmanae
Family: Eleutherodactylidae
Locations: Puerto Rico
Size: 0.74 inches (19 mm)

The Medlodius Coqui lives amongst the leaf litter in the mountainous forests of Puerto Rico. While they are a species of coqui, their call isn’t the standard coqui sound. The frog breeds all year long but peaks around May when the warm, rainy season starts. The males call out to attract females from the leaf litter and in vegetation up to 3 feet high. The female lays between 5 – 8 eggs. They are a direct developing species, skipping a free tadpole phase. When they hatch from their egg, there is just a small froglet that emerges. The males provide parental care for the eggs sometimes.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Melodius Coqui as an Endangered Species. The frogs live in only a handful of locations on the island. Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal disease, has killed off numerous mature coquis. Also, habitat destruction to make room for housing, urban areas, and farms have decreased its habitat.

Frog of the Week

Mascarene Ridged Frog (Ptychadena mascareniensis)

Mascarene Ridged Frog
photo by flicker user Frank Vassen

Common Name: Mascarene Ridged Frog or Mascarene Grass Frog
Scientific Name: Ptychadena mascareniensis
Family: Ptychadenidae
Locations: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Introduced Locations: Mauritania, Seychelles, and Réunion
Size: 1.6 – 2.6 (43 – 68 mm)

The Mascarene Ridged Frog lives in humid savannahs and open forests all across African and various islands including Madagascar. There are only two species of frogs that are not endemic (only found on) to Madagascar, the Indian Bullfrog (xxxx) and the Mascarene Ridged Frog.

It is believed that the Mascarene Ridge Frog got to Madagascar from Africa on a raft of some sort before humans arrived but after Madagascar split from Africa. The frog is named after the Mascarene Islands which the frog is not native to. It is believed that the frog was introduced to the islands in the late 1800’s.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Mascarene Ridged Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a presumed large population.